Just when we all thought this most wretched of seasons couldn’t get any more miserable, we’re reminded of Raul’s harrowing head injury with another shuddering collision involving another one of our heroes.
It feels we’ve had enough slings and arrows to last a lifetime this season and the sight of a stretcher tending to another member of the pack was so depressing it made Diogo Jota’s inevitable winner seem inconsequential.
A positive health update on Patricio represents a good return from our evening’s defeat, which is a pitifully apt abridgement of this dire campaign that few could have dreamt of a year or so ago, when we were dancing in the streets of Barcelona.
If it’s not mathematically done and dusted just yet, then let’s plunder enough points to make it so and have some time away from Beautiful Game, which has never looked uglier set to a backdrop of soulless seats and a soundtrack of shameless shrieks.
The only thing more certain than death, taxes and a spurious new strain of the coronavirus to keep us all indoors for a few more months was Diogo Jota coming back to score the winner. Listening to him talk so dismissively about his time here – and us fans not being there to see him stick the knife in – only compounded it further. Then there was a nailed on penalty not being given by the cheats at Stockley Park, who again put the feelings of a referee over the right-and-proper decision on the field of play. It all conspired to facilitate the most predictable of outcomes which most of us had been dreading all weekend.
Maybe it was the footballing gods intervening? They always seem to at Molineux when responding to a nonsensical decision that defies logic; in this case selling the matchwinner and replacing him with players who will never be fit to lace his boots.
Once that goal went in, owing as much to Patricio’s benevolence as Liverpool’s zippy interplay, the worst side in the Premier League since the start of February (statistically) were on easy street, knowing we’re short of the firepower needed to find a way back into the game.
While we looked a very capable side for spells outside the box, it took us 72 minutes to get our first shot off and over the course of the season we’ve scored just 14 from open play. Watching Fabio fail to direct his entire head onto the actual object he was attempting to connect with (I.E. the football) was a reminder of why. Is it any wonder he fails to find a static, 24yd target so often? That most fans clamour for him over Willian José is an even bigger indictment on the Brazilian we’ll probably end up signing in the summer.
It’s no wonder Jota was so keen to erase the past and rub our noses in it. (The same Jota that some fans will continue to protest should still have been sold, and would still offer to drive him to Anfield themselves. Go figure).
In his and Raul’s absence we have the most anaemic strike force imaginable, which needs a radical overhaul in the summer if we’re serious about improving. No team must make so many wrong decisions, so often, and look so incapable of putting the ball in the back of the net which is a fatal flaw when that’s the objective of the game.
Signing Fabio Silva and loaning Willian José on the one hand, while selling Jota and Pedro Gonçalves on the other, demands greater scrutiny if ‘The Project’ still exists. A better solution from outside is essential this summer, irrespective.
Until then, I’ll keep watching the same inevitable shortcomings from my soulless living room, where wood-chipped wall paper peels around the skirting. The monosyllabic Martin Tyler tries to sugar-coat it, through the muffles of a disposable facemask, but there’s no getting away from the truth.
This season has been terrible. Life is the same and my cup doesn’t so much runneth over these days, but go cold on some tawdry flat pack furniture that I wished I’d never built.
Wolves lost, Liverpool won and Jota scored the winner.
It was ever thus.